Posted in Writing

What Sparks Stories?

Sharing my guest post on the author Jacci Gooding’s blog, where we’ve both talked about the inspirations for our writing

Head shot of Jacci Gooding
My author friend Jacci Gooding

Last week, I was delighted to receive an invitation to appear as a guest on Jacci Gooding’s author blog. She asked me to write on any subject of my choice, but when I read her recent post about what inspires her stories, I decided to respond in kind.

Fact Inspiring Fiction

Jacci’s post, running under the heading “You Couldn’t Make It Up”, demonstrates her classic authorly knack of spotting writing prompts all around her. Overheard snippets of conversation cry out for a back-story to be written, and friends’ anecdotes tempt an author to take poetic licence and develop them into a full-blown story. (Read Jacci’s post here.)

Cover of my short story "Lighting Up Time", written for the winter solsticeIn my guest post, I share the observations that led to some of the stories in my Christmas collection, Stocking Fillers, in my flash fiction collection Quick Change, and my most topical story of the moment, “Lighting Up Time”, which is set at the winter solstice (21st December in the northern hemisphere). Read about what sparks my stories on Jacci’s blog here. 

But It Is Fiction, Isn’t It?

Many fiction authors are horrified when readers jump to the conclusion that their work is autobiographical, or when they claim to have spotted themselves as a character in a story, despite the legal disclaimers that appear in every work of fiction that any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental. My Canadian author friend Francis Guenette writes amusingly about that dilemma on the ALLi blog (of which I’m Commissioning Editor) in this post: It’s Fiction, People!

Can any fiction author ever really write a story that hasn’t been sparked by real life in some shape or form? I’m not sure – nor am I convinced that such a story would be worth reading – and what I’ve read of both Jacci’s and Francis’s work is very definitely worth reading!

For more information about my fiction, check out my fiction section.

EASY TWEET
Talking about inspiration for our stories with @JacciGooding on her blog: http://authordebbieyoung.com/2014/12/17/sparks/ ‎#amwriting #ww

OVER TO YOU
If you’re an author, what sets your imagination alight? And as a reader, does it matter to you whether fiction has its basis in fact? Please join the conversation!

Posted in Reading, Self-publishing, Writing

My Interview on Alison Morton’s Blog

Selfie of Debbie Young with Alison Morton
Selfie with Alison Morton at the Romantic Novelists’ Association annual conference in July 2014

This post gives you the link to my interview by thriller writer Alison Morton and fills in a bit of background. 

I’m very pleased to be interviewed on Alison Morton’s action-packed author blog, under the deeply flattering headline “Debbie Young – Marketing Superstar”. (She knows how to charm, does Alison!)

In it, her interesting questions include a query as to whether I’ll ever write a novel and, if so, what would it be about. Hop over to her blog to find out the answers, and also to read more about her terrific Roma Nova series of alternative history thrillers (or alternate history, as the Americans call it, to the irritation of purists everywhere).

Here’s the link: Debbie Young’s interview on Alison Morton’s blog

More about Alison Morton

Cover of Inceptio by Alison MortonI’ve known Alison for a couple of years, during which our writing careers have been running in parallel.Not long after SilverWood Books published my authors’ marketing guide Sell Your Books!, Alison launched her first novel, Inceptio, assisted by SilverWood’s excellent author services.

Although Alison is energetic, computer-savvy and tremendously clever – in short, capable of doing all the self-publishing work herself – she preferred to delegate it to SilverWood, freeing up her own time to devote her time to writing and marketing her books.

At the SilverWood Open Day last September
At the SilverWood Open Day last September

Her strategy paid off, because she’s now published three books in the series – Inceptio, Perfiditas and Successio – and is writing the fourth. Her books have had fabulous reviews (including some from me here), they’ve won all sorts of awards, and she’s just been snapped up by A for Authors agency for her subsidiary and foreign rights.

Ironically, although Alison now lives and works in France, and I live in England, I’ve seen her more often than any other SilverWood author lately, our paths crossing at the London Book Fair, SilverWood’s Open Day, at the RNA Conference earlier this month, and other authors’ launches.

Cover of Successio
Alison’s latest book in the Roma Nova series

Or maybe it just feels that way because she has such a high profile on line. She’s also guested on my Off The Shelf Book Promotions blog, her latest appearance being to share her top tips for book promotion here.

Either way, she’s a great role model for any aspiring self-publishing author, and, as you can see from our selfie above, a lot of fun.

And if you’ve read this far without visiting my interview on her blog, do it now! Here’s that link again: Debbie Young’s interview on Alison Morton’s blog

 

Posted in Writing

Getting Around By Blog

Continuing the series revealing what I do all day, here’s a post about my recent appearance on an American book reviewer’s blog.

flying carpet
My favourite form of transport: the flying carpet

One of the great joys of working from home in the age of the internet is that you don’t need to travel physically to make new friends and put in an appearance anywhere else on the globe. It’s like having a flying carpet – surely the most environmentally-friendly form of transport there is? (I so want a real flying carpet.)

Travelling by Blog

Headshot of Stephanie Moore Hopkins
Booklover, book reviewer, book blogger – Stephanie Moore Hopkins

I’ve been taking advantage of travel-by-blog recently, when I accepted a kind invitation from US book blogger Stephanie Moore Hopkins. Stephanie is an avid reader and promoter of good self-published books. She vets and reviews books for the American award scheme, Indie BRAG Medallion, which honours self-published novels that meet very high professional standards. I have several friends who have been so honoured, so I know from their response just how much this medal means to authors.

Stephanie also blogs in her own right at Layered Pages, where she complements her other book-related activities with ever-interesting interviews and posts. When she told me that she was starting a new series of interviews investigating how authors use beta readers to help them improve their self-published books, I jumped at the chance to be in the spotlight.

One reason that I was particularly keen to do so is because I’d just benefited enormously from the input of a great team of beta readers before publishing my first collection of flash fiction, Quick Change. I saw this interview as a great way to acknowledge their support – and also to encourage other aspiring writers to do the same.

 

My Interview on Layered Pages

If you’d like to read Stephanie’s interview with me, you’ll find it here: http://layeredpages.com/2014/07/01/qa-about-beta-readers-with-author-debbie-young-2/

While you’re there, do scroll through to read more of her blog, which presents an endless supply of interesting posts about authors and their books. To keep up with her prodigious flow of new posts, you might also like to connect with Stephanie on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LayeredPages. I’m sure you’ll both be glad you did!

I’m also looking forward to turning the tables when I interview Stephanie for the ALLi blog later this month. More about that to follow…

Further Reading

If you’d like to know more about beta readers, what they do and how to find them, read my previous posts:

 

Posted in Self-publishing, Writing

Introducing Commissioner Debbie

This post gives an overview of one of the many freelance roles that make up my working week – the editing role that, with echoes of Batman’s Commissioner Gordon, I refer to in my head as my “Commissioner Debbie” job.

 

Picture of my desk
It’s not always this tidy

As you may know, I work full-time from home in the comfort of my own study, overlooking the garden of my little cottage in the English Cotswolds.

My working week is a patchwork of many things, of which the largest is the role of Commissioning Editor of the Self-publishing Advice blog run by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi).

Yes, that is a long title – and no wonder we often abbreviate this when talking amongst ourselves in the group to the ALLi SPA blog.

ALLi is the global organisation that brings together self-publishing authors from around the world to share best practice and to campaign for a higher profile for indie writing.

Editing

ALLi logoAs its blog’s Commissioning Editor, my remit is:

  • to identify suitable topics for inclusion
  • to arrange for appropriate people (usually other self-publishing authors) to write guest posts
  • and to set them up to go live on the blog at the appropriate time

There’s a new and interesting post just about every day. To make it easier for readers to find what they’re looking for, the posts are loosely grouped into different strands according to the days of the week. For example, Monday is the “Opinion” slot in which writers sound off about controversial issues, and Thursday is the “Writing” slot in which we address topics related to the craft of writing.

Writing

World Book Day logo 2014Occasionally I write posts myself. This is either because my chosen topic is one that I’m well qualified to write about (for example, World Book Day), or because I’ve been inspired and informed by discussions on ALLi’s Facebook forum (a members-only group in which we discuss all aspects of self-publishing).

My latest post falls into that second category. Following a conversation about which version of English ALLi’s members choose to write in, I drew on my own experience of having lived in other English-speaking environments and stated my preference for adhering to British English (no surprises there). Although I can translate reasonably well into American English at least, I stick with what comes naturally. I also included quotes from authors writing in English in other countries, including the Scottish-born Catriona Troth, who grew up in Canada but now lives and writes in England (where she’s recently written a book set in Canada).

The post  – which you can read in full here – received lots of social media shares (53 at the time of writing this YoungByName post) and a flurry of comments (16 at last count, to each of which I gave a personal reply).

The author graduating from her American-style high school in 1978It also gave me the opportunity to use a photo that my editor at the Tetbury Advertiser used to illustrate my latest column there. It shows making a speech on graduation day at my American-style high school in Germany, Frankfurt International School. Worth every bit as much as my high school diploma was the fluency I gained in American English, though I retained my British accent.

Which version of English do you prefer? Do tell!

If you’re an aspiring writer or are already self-publishing your work, you might like to consider joining ALLi: click here for more information.